|Currently at the Maryville site|
Since 2009, when then-46th Ward alderman Helen Shiller first floated the idea of creating a Montrose-Clarendon TIF to spur development of the 3.5-acre site, it's been controversial. Ald. Shiller's original TIF plan called for developer Sedgwick Properties Development Group to receive more than $60 million in TIF funding, which it planned to roll into a $500-million three-tower development. That development would have included more than 1050 residential units, 1100 parking spaces, a hotel, a health club, a supermarket, and other retail.
The plans been considerably downscaled since then, with the current proposal calling for JDL Developers and Harlem-Irving to receive $15.8 million in TIF funding to create a $121-million mixed-use project featuring 381 residential units and retail (probably a supermarket and restaurant). They would also pay $4.8 million up-front to start redevelopment and rehab on the deteriorating Clarendon Park Fieldhouse.
The site has not generated any taxes in decades. Any tax money received from the new project would be generated by the new project. There is no money whatsoever in the current TIF account.
With the property being tax-exempt and owned by a religious order (the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, we see a new development as a financial boon for all Uptowners. If it gets approval:
- The property would bring in property taxes and sales taxes to the city for the first time in forever. 3.5 acres is a huge amount of land to be sitting around tax-free. More money will be generated for city and social services.
- Five percent of the units would be affordable units. There is no housing, affordable or otherwise, at the site, and there hasn't been in a very long time.
- No one will be displaced, since the property has been empty since at least 2005.
- The developers would put $5.7 million into the Low Income Housing Trust Fund, which subsidizes the rents for many Chicagoans, including here in Uptown, ensuring that communities can remain economically diverse. $5.7 million can help a lot of families pay their rent for a long time.
- The religious order that owns the property would get a very nice sales price from the developers with which to continue its charitable work, which includes working against human trafficking and helping immigrants and refugees. The Sisters have been eager to sell Maryville for years.
- Uptown would have more new residents to build up the tax base and create a more vibrant community.
- The Clarendon Park Fieldhouse would receive nearly $5 million to start the process of rehabilitation which it sorely needs, and which the Park Department says it cannot provide.
It's not a done deal until the DPD and City Council give thumbs up, but it's closer than it's been at any time since the idea of a TIF and property development were first thought up, back in 2009.